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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Amish team planting corn
Farmview along Nissley Road from the end of our lane.
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"I Will Be With You"

"Sojourn in this land and I will be with you and bless you" (Genesis 26:3).

Our daughter, Ester, has an opportunity to attend Malaga Camp in Newfield, New Jersey next week.  We've been talking it up for weeks, but she is reluctant about leaving home to stay in an unfamiliar setting. Though she's 19, due to her unstable medical history in addition to her special needs, most camp settings were not suitable for her during her young years.
When we learned about HandiCamp, along with its spiritual emphasis in a setting conducive to Ester's level of learning, we were excited to get her signed up.  Shortly afterward two young ladies who work with the camp paid a visit to Ester in our home.  They brought photo albums with pictures of previous campers and talked to her about the many activities offered at HandiCamp.  Brooksyne and I were so pleased that representatives of this Christian camping ministry would pay a personal visit to reassure new campers that they'll enjoy this new experience away from their familiar settings.  It was their way of saying, "God will be with you in this new adventure."

It's reassuring to hear others say to us in the midst of a challenge or in the midst of any new experience, "God will be with you."  And it is even more reassuring to hear the voice of the Lord speak to our hearts with His comforting promise, "I will be with You."

Isaac was the very first person recorded in the Bible that heard these words from God, "I will be with you."  They came at a critical time when Isaac was contemplating a visit to Egypt where there was food available. There was a severe famine in Canaan and the Lord appeared to Isaac and directed him, "Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you."  He also reminded Isaac of His earlier promise to Abraham that He would make his descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky.

Throughout life we find great assurance in the promise of God's steadfast, abiding presence and this is especially appreciated during life's inevitable transitions.  Some of you undoubtedly are going through such a transition today.  It may be a graduation, a career move or new residency, an illness or even the death of a loved one.  For some it's a new baby, for others it's the "empty nest. And yet others are feeling that God wants you to stay put right where you are and trust Him to help you endure the struggles you presently face.

Throughout the Old Testament God also gave these words of assurance to Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Gideon and Solomon.  However one Old Testament reference that I especially find reassuring is not a promise to an individual, but to all of God's people (Isaiah 43:2). "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you."

Jesus promised His disciples before His physical ascension to heaven: "I am with you always even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20).  The writer of Hebrews has a promise that I memorized early as a believer.  He quotes a compilation of several Old Testament verses as He encourages the early believers who were enduring much affliction. "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.  The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" (Hebrews 13:5,6).

Whatever challenge you face today, remember that He goes before you and prepares the way.  Be confident as you stand on His promise:  "I will be with you." 

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer: Father, we're so thankful that we don't have to step out on our own and rely on our connections, wisdom, giftings, or experience.  Whatever challenge we face can be met by remembering Your promise, "I will be with you."  Just as David, youthful and wearing no protective armor, confidently faced the giant with a sling You reassured him, "I will be with you."  Whatever enemy we face, if we are suited in Your spiritual armor, we can be confident of Your promise to us as well:  "I will be with You."  What blessing and comfort these words bring to our hearts this day.  Amen.

Yesterday we shared a photo of Pistachio nuts and inquired as to where this nut is referenced in the Bible.  Thank you to those who commented.  You were all correct in citing Genesis 43:11 as the verse where Jacob sent his sons the second time to Egypt for more food. Here's an expositional response from Philip, a reader in Nairobi, Kenya: "The Pistachio Nuts are mentioned in the Bible in the book of Genesis 43:11. It was after Israel had sent his sons to Egypt to buy food but Simeon was held until the sons of Israel bring their youngest brother Benjamin to Egypt on orders of Joseph who had not by then revealed himself to them. The nuts were among the gifts that Israel sent through his sons to the Egyptian ruler (Joseph). The gifts, including the nuts, were meant to help Israel through his sons to seek favour with the Egyptian ruler so that he can release Simeon and also not to hold Benjamin when he arrives in Egypt."  Nice work Philip! There were  others who
also included interesting details about the pistachio nuts and the Scripture passage.

We would like to share a couple of photos from our travels yesterday.

Amish team planting corn
We passed this interesting mailbox out in the country near New Holland.

Amish team planting corn
The Greystone Manor Bed & Breakfast in Bird In Hand Pennsylvania. Unfortunately this photo really does not do justice to the plants hanging on the stone wall.

Today's Suggested Music  and Supplemental Resources

"You Are There"

"May This Journey"

I took today's top photo of the farm view yesterday and hope to get this view in each season.  We are blessed with this outstanding scene when we leave our home and make a stop at the end of our lane. It's one of the only stop signs where we don't make a quick stop but often linger as we view this beautiful farmland.  Each season takes on its own beauty with the various crops planted. Here's the photo I took earlier this Spring before the planting.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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